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Auditor General finding on need for EMS results in new ICT Services Scheme sub-category

by Pallavi Singhal •
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NSW’s whole-of-government ICT Services Scheme continues to expand with Expense Management Systems (EMS) to be added following a Request for Information (RFI) evaluation process.

The new sub-category, coded as Q05Ptr, will fall under Category Q for ERP and related corporate and shared services. In line with the Government’s push to ensure that ERP-as-a-service options are available to agencies, suppliers of EMS are asked to “be open to new and innovative delivery mechanisms such as Software as a Service (SaaS)”.

The Department of Finance and Services (DFS) is investigating “methodologies for collaboration across Agencies and Clusters for service delivery at a reduced transaction cost”, according to RFI documents.

The establishment of the sub-category is specifically linked to a recent acceleration in the Government’s aim to introduce the use of “Purchase Cards” across agency clusters for all transactions under $3,000.  Transactions below this level account for around 85 per cent of all NSW Government transactions.

The policy to use purchase cards was introduced in December 2011 with the intent to yield savings of around $22 per transaction or $127.4 million over the first six years. However, a June 2014 report by Auditor-General Grant Hehir found that “NSW government agencies are not making sufficient use of purchasing cards and EFT to pay for goods and services”.

“The Audit Office estimates that by 30 June 2014 - the first two years of the government’s initiative -  savings will be less than half the expected $15.3 million.”

Hehir identifies the Education, Health, Police and Justice Departments as conducting a significant number of transactions but making insufficient use of purchasing cards.

Along with a greater adoption of the policy, the Auditor-General’s report recommends the use of expense management systems by agencies to “streamline processes, maximise savings and improve data capture”.

RFI submissions close on 18 November 2014. Successful suppliers will automatically become “offer endorsed providers” of EMS, and will be required to complete an application process to be registered as advanced suppliers under the new sub-category.

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